By Keisha B. Ta-asan, Reporter
INFLATION likely further slowed in March amid lower pump prices and a drop in prices of some food items, analysts said.
A BusinessWorld poll of 16 analysts yielded a median estimate of 8.1% for March inflation, near the upper end of the 7.4% to 8.2% forecast given by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) last week.
If realized, the median estimate will be slower than the 8.6% in February, but much faster than the 4% print in March 2022.
March would mark the 13th straight month that inflation surpassed the BSP’s 2-4% target range.
The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) will release the latest consumer price index (CPI) data on April 5 (Wednesday).
“We expect CPI inflation to slow to 8.1% in March, primarily on the back of lower energy prices,” Oxford Economics assistant economist Makoto Tsuchiya said in an e-mail.
Fuel retailers lowered pump prices in March. For the month, pump price adjustments stood at a net decrease of P0.65 a liter for gasoline, P1.75 a liter for diesel, and P3.25 a liter for kerosene.
“The impact of non-monetary interventions to tame inflation should have also been evident (in March),” Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corp. economist for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Aris Dacanay said in an e-mail.
The government earlier this year approved the importation of 21,000 metric tons of onions, which helped bring down the price of red onions to P143 per kilogram (kg) in March from P535 per kg in January, Mr. Dacanay said.
He also noted the drop in prices of some vegetables like eggplants and Chinese cabbages in March.
China Banking Corp. Chief Economist Domini S. Velasquez said prices of eggs also went down as the avian flu remains contained, while fish prices slipped as the…
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